Went to the Maine State Beekeepers Association annual meeting this past Saturday. It was, as always, a wonderful informative, entertaining day. On the organic beekeeping listserve that I belong to this came today. I am sharing it to show that you do NOT want to mess with a bunch of riled up Beeks.
A Mexican judge won’t be bought off by the giant biotech company, Monsanto—
instead he honored the complaints of small bee-keepers and will stall the
growing season for Monsanto’s GM soybeans in Yucatán.
Published: October 20, 2014 | Authors: _Christina Sarich_
(http://www.nationofchange.org/2014/author/christina-sarich/) | _Natural Society_
(http://naturalsociety.com/big-win-monsanto-loses-gm-permit-mexico/) | News Report
Honoring the complaints of a small group of beekeepers in the state of
Yucatán, who complained that Monsanto’s planned planting of thousands of
hectares of GM soybeans made to withstand RoundUp would demolish their honey
industry by decimating bees – a judge in Mexico has removed Monsanto’s
planting permit. Monsanto can install Clarence Thomas on the U.S.00 Federal Judge
circuit after working for their corporation, an obvious conflict of
interest, but it looks like a Mexican judge won’t be bought off by biotech.
Though _Monsanto will surely appeal the ruling_
(http://www.fooddemocracynow.org/blog/2014/oct/9) , it will at least stall the growing season and give
the bee-keepers time to gather additional support for their cause.
A district has overturned a permit issued to Monsanto by Mexico’s
agriculture ministry, Sagarpa, and environmental protection agency, Semarnat, back
in June 2012 that allowed commercial planting of _RoundUp-ready soybeans_
If the permit had been honored, Monsanto would have been able to plant
seeds in seven states, covering more than 253,000 hectares of land. (This
amounts to almost a million acres.) Mayan farmers, beekeepers, and activist
groups like Greenpeace, the Mexican National Commission for the Knowledge and
Use of Biodiversity, the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas,
and the National Institute of Ecology have been vocally protesting this
The judge was apparently convinced that the scientific data showing a link
between RoundUp, GMOs, and lowered honey production is very real. The
Yucatán peninsula grows vasts amounts of honey, and in fact is the third
largest exporter of honey to the world. The area includes Campeche, Quintana Roo,
and Yucatán states. More than 25,000 families build their livelihoods on
honey production. Almost all of the honey grown there is exported to the EU
and amounts to over $54 million in Mexican money annually.
The judge ruled that honey production and GM soybeans could not co-exist.
In addition to known health risks posed by GMO crops and the herbicides
used to grow them, there is also _environmental damage_
-health-and-the-environment/) to soil, water, and _bee colonies which are
(http://naturalsociety.com/bee-keepers-unite-against-epa-fda-approval-sulfoxaflor/) fast. There are also long term changes to the
ecosystems where GMOs are grown.
Since _a landmark decision in 2011_
(http://curia.europa.eu/jcms/upload/docs/application/pdf/2011-09/cp110079en.pdf) by the European court of justice
banned GM crop imports, GMO honey would likely not be accepted – similar
to how Syngenta’s GMO corn strains are now being refused in China when
exported from the U.S.
The ruling determined that honey derived from a GM crop would be
unapproved for human consumption.
This follows an _inaugural study conducted in Campeche_
(http://www.nature.com/srep/2014/140207/srep04022/full/srep04022.htm) , where about 10,000
hectares of GM soybeans were planted after Monsanto’s permit was approved in
2012. GM pollen _was found_
in some honey samples destined for the European market.
Since bees pollinate vast tracts of land and could contaminate other crops
besides the GM crops planted, GM soy plantings also have more exponential
probability to cause damage.
The _Monsanto ruling was commended_
(http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2014/07/23/opinion/002a1edi) by the respected national newspaper La Jornada, which
accused the Mexican government of ignoring widespread concerns over GMOs and
forcing bee keepers to fight it out in court with powerful multinational
companies who have deep pockets to make legal battles go on at length.
Central to the ruling was the Mexican constitution, specifically the
government’s obligation to fully consult indigenous communities before making
any major decision about what happens to their land and food.
It’s too bad our own governments have long overlooked the people’s wishes
regarding GM crops in the U.S.